An economist’s perspective on alien invasions

Published 26 June 2012

Globalisation has intensified an invasion by alien animals and plants that now costs Australia $7 billion each year.

“Bio-security is everyone’s business,” says the University of New England’s Professor Oscar Cacho. “The community has a role to play in protecting Australia’s environment. This includes telling the truth to Customs when returning to Australia from overseas, and reporting noxious weeds.”

Professor Cacho, from the UNE Business School, will be presenting a free public lecture on bio-security and the economics of invasive species on Wednesday 4 July. It will be his Inaugural Lecture for the Armidale community as a Professor of Economics. Titled “Life is Full of Trade-offs”, it will be in the Armidale Ex-Services Memorial Club at 6.30 pm.

Professor Cacho started his professional career as a marine biologist and later became an economist. His career has included being part of a Technical Advisory Group on Control of Invasive Species in the Galapagos Islands, and a visiting expert at the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations in Rome. He has worked at UNE for the past 18 years.

Currently, Professor Cacho is involved in a project on reducing deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia, and has funding from the Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis to study the surveillance and control of invasive species.

His lecture will explain how the principles of economics and biology can be used to address threats from diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, Hendra virus and equine influenza, and to resolve conflicts over natural resources.

The lecture will be followed by drinks and canapés. To help with catering arrangements, please e-mail the organisers at by Monday 2 July if you are intending to join the audience.